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Nothing holding back Richard Bohus from achieving his goals with ASU swimming

After an injury-riddled start to his career, the senior's latest comeback is helping the Sun Devils make waves in the pool

Richard Bohus, ASU senior and swimming olympian, shows off his Olympics tattoo and practices at the Mona Plummer Aquatic Complex in Tempe on Nov. 21, 2016.
Richard Bohus, ASU senior and swimming olympian, shows off his Olympics tattoo and practices at the Mona Plummer Aquatic Complex in Tempe on Nov. 21, 2016.

Senior Richard Bohus is without a doubt, one of the most valuable members of the ASU men's swimming team. Although Bohus' value is without question, the Hungarian native has been prone to injuries at times during his collegiate career.

Shoulder surgery caused the 23-year-old to miss the majority of his sophomore campaign (2014-15), but he came back in February and won the 100-yard freestyle (44.34) and 100-yard backstroke (48.34) against arch-rival Arizona.

Bohus was determined to remain healthy for the entirety of his junior season. Unfortunately, the situation did not exactly go according to plan.

One morning, with the fall portion of the 2015-16 season about to commence, the team was informed that one of their teammates suffered an injury and was seeing the sports doctor.

At that point, without needing anymore information, everybody immediately thought of one person and one person only.

"Everyone’s first initial reaction is ‘oh please don’t let it be Richie (Bohus),” senior freestyler Kat Simonovic said. “One thing after another, whether it's an injury in the pool, an injury while he runs, whether it’s his elbow, ankle or hand, something is always breaking down.”

Not long after, those initial worries became reality. For the second time in as many years, Bohus was hurt. Except this setback did not happen in the water — but on a bicycle.

Bohus broke both his arms after a bicycle accident and had surgery last October, causing him to miss the entire fall season. As frustrating as this was for his teammates and coaches, for Bohus, it was traumatizing.

“It was a huge hit because I had just come back from shoulder surgery and then I got another (injury),” Bohus said. “For basically two years, I had no time to practice.”

Bohus could have quit, but that thought never crossed his mind. In the face of exorbitant adversity, he slowly worked his way back.

“Last year I talked with the coaches a lot and they made sure I was motivated and ready to come back and contribute to this team,” he said.

Bohus kept himself motivated by setting goals for the future and worked on what he could every morning in the pool — his kicking, with assistant coach Derek Schmitt.

Some days were better than others, but Bohus' desire to come back, along with his teammates company, helped him push through.

“They kept me alive,” Bohus said about his teammates. “They made sure I’m recovering, I’m not doing anything stupid and whenever I was walking, they would pick me up.”

On Jan. 17, 2016, the Sun Devils welcomed back Bohus to the lineup for a dual meet against Wyoming. Similar to his sophomore campaign, he returned with a bang, winning his first two events — the 100-yard backstroke and 100-yard freestyle. 

Bohus would go on to finish first in eight of his initial 12 events, break three personal-best times at the NCAA Championships and earned him a rightful nickname: "The Comeback Kid" in the process.

Schmitt, who accompanied Simonovic, Bohus and senior Anna Olasz to Rio for the 2016 Olympics, was happy to see ASU go international.  

"If you work hard, no matter if it's just kicking or swimming all the way, your hard work is going to pay off in the end," Schmitt said.

While Bohus' story is indeed remarkable, it's nothing new for Simonovic, who is not surprised by how strong Bohus has looked.

“The more that goes on and the further that we go in this sport and career together, I think it becomes obvious to everyone that nothing is going to hold this kid back," Simonovic said.

Bohus completed his epic comeback last August when he represented his country for the second time on the world's biggest stage in Rio. He had also previously competed in the 2012 Olympics Games in London.

“That (Rio Olympics) was big for me because it showed that I could come back from nowhere,” Bohus said. “When I was injured, I was unmotivated, and I was shattered. That was a really dark time of my life.”

Now fully healthy, Bohus is breaking school records and is leading his team to one victory after another. Having come full circle, Bohus' legacy at ASU is by no means complete.

Stressing the importance of his mental game, an area Bohus focuses on, he is ready to help ASU reach the mountaintop of collegiate swimming.

“I always do visualizations, I’m always imagining how the race will turn out,” Bohus said. “I’m trying to accomplish the goals that I’ve set, the team set and the coaches have set.

Moving forward, Bohus's incredible work ethic will help him face new challenges head on and ultimately, make bigger waves in the water.

Related Links:

Big final day helps ASU men's swimming claim the Art Adamson Invitational

Specialized coaching helps make butterfly a strength for the men's team

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